By inspiration (1 Corinthians 2), Paul wrote, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;….” (2 Corinthians 5:11). In spite of this, preachers of this century almost exclusively speak of the love, grace, mercy and saving God and His Son, Jesus the Christ. Each of these things is true. For example, “God is love” (1 John 4:8), and “He first loved us.” (Verse 19). John 3:16 speaks of God’s great love for us in sending His only begotten Son to die for the remission of our sins, and for the height of love expressed by Jesus in willingly leaving heaven, coming to earth, and sacrificially shedding His blood to save one in His Church. (John 15:13; Philippians 2:6-11; 1 Peter 1:19; Acts 20:28; Ephesians 5:21-33, especially, verse 23). Titus 2:11 says, “the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men.” Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith….” Titus 3:5 reads, “According to his mercy he saved us….” Like 2:8-20 announced the virgin birth of Jesus, with verse 11 saying, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” One should be deeply grateful that all of this, and more, is true, and that some teach and preach this.
All are indebted to those who teach and remind people of these precious truths. However, all should demand that teachers “declare all the counsel of God” as did Paul. (Acts 20:27). Many are not doing this. Likely, you are hearing a feel good religion, something like, “I’m OK; you’re OK.” Maybe you have heard, “This could be your day.” Or perhaps you hear, “Sow seed (usually, money, JP) that you may reap a bountiful harvest.” Many of these brag on having so much due to their seed sowing. On and on it goes. Malachi 3:10; Luke 6:38; Matthew 6:33; and other verses speak of giving and receiving, but not as many today teach. But this is another study.
Dear honest seeker of truth, please understand that “There is one lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy.” (James 4:12). This God of love who sent Jesus to die for the sins of the world (John 3:16, 17), and who does not want anyone to be lost (2 Peter 3:9), is also a God of wrath. Revelation 6:16, 17 tell of some who would cry to the “mountains and Rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of his wrath is come;….” Numbers 16:46 tells us of “wrath gone out from the Lord;….” 1 Thessalonians 1:10 speaks of Jesus delivering “from the wrath to come.” Paul said, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in is body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” He added, “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;….” (Verse 11). Is God all loving? YES!!! This is proved by His sending Jesus to die to save sinners. (John 3:16, 17; 1 Timothy 1:15). However, God rebukes (Hebrews 12:5) and chastises (Verses 6-11). God also prepared an everlasting fire, hell, for the devil and his angels, all disobedient. (Matthew 25:41; 5:22, 29, 20; 7:21-23). One should “fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28). “The preacher, the son of David” (Ecclesiastes 1:1), Solomon (1 Kings 2:1), concluded, “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
Beloved, God loves you! However, He expects you to love Him supremely (Mark 12:30), and to do His will. (Matthew 7:21). It is not enough to say, “Lord, Lord”, only believing, as some teach today. Jesus said those who enter into the kingdom of heaven will be those who “do the will of my Father which is in heaven.” One might be most religious, yet not be saved. (Verses 22, 23). One might be religious, but not righteous, not right. An awakening example of this is the people of Athens. (Acts 17:22-34). Paul told them they were “too superstitious”, too religious, having so many gods they worshipped, while not worshipping the true God. He called their worship “ignorant worship.” (Verse 23). He then presented the true God to them (Verses 23-29), calling on them to repent of their ignorance and turn to God in view of the coming judgment day. (Verses 30, 31). The God and Savior of love would not save them in their ignorant worship. God called on them to repent. By the way, this shows that salvation is neither by grace nor faith only. Such is not a most wholesome doctrine, and it is certainly of no comfort to those who know the scriptures. There are gods and lords many, but there is but one true God and Lord, the Father and Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 8:4-6). God is loving, just, merciful, and saves, BUT ONLY those who OBEY Him. (Revelation 2:1-7; Matthew 21:28-32; Romans 6:17, 18).
Cherished one, think about 2 Corinthians 5:11. Christians should know about Jesus, including “the terror of the Lord.” Think of what a loving God did to Sodom and Gomorrah. God destroyed them. He “rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire.” (Genesis 19:23-25). God would have saved these cities IF Abraham had found just ten righteous. (Genesis 18:23-33). God doesn’t desire any to perish. (2 Peter 3:9). However, those judged disobedient will be lost. (Matthew 25:26-30; 34, 41). The loving God wants to save you, and He will, but only if you show your love to Him by doing His will (Hebrews 5:8, 9; Matthew 7:21-23), realizing that you are not worthy, that you have simply done what He asked. (Luke 17:10; Ephesians 2:8-10; Acts 2:40; Philippians 2:12). As the present world rushes toward Sodom and Gomorrah, how many righteous can be found?
Christian, “knowing the terror of the Lord”, regarding the disobedient, that God can and will “destroy both soul and body in hell”, GEENNA, everlasting hell (Matthew 10:28; 23:33), how can one sit idly by and watch one’s family, friends, neighbors, anyone, travel down that path without zealously trying to change their course. Persuade (Greek, PEITHO) means to convince, assure, and such like, by evidence. (Strong’s, p. 786; W. E. Vine, Vol. III, p. 179). False teachers have persuaded multitudes from Genesis thru Revelation, and many continue to the present. Saints must work harder, not relying on getting people to the buildings. The saved must go to every creature (Mark 16:15), in every nation (Matthew 28:19), going to each door in the community, to one’s family, friends, neighbors, and all others. Jesus put it this way, “unto the highways and hedges,….” (Luke 14:23). Carefully notice the rest of the verse, “And compel them to come in, that my Father’s house may be filled.” Compel, Greek, ANAGKAZO, “To necessitate; compel, constrain.” (Strong’s, p. 212). Only those who came in were filled. Thus, one defines “the house of God, which is the church of the living God,….” Jesus wants the buildings filled with His people, His House or church which He built. (Romans 16:16; Matthew 16:18). Those are the ones He will save. (Ephesians 5:23). “Compel them”!!!
Good person, do not be like Israel of old, “at ease in Zion”? (Amos 6:1). The word of the Lord came “by Haggai to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah…and Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest, saying…Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste?” He then told them, Consider your ways.” (Verse 5, 7). They were told to go to work, “Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord.” (Verse 8). Christians should not sit at ease in ceiled houses, entertaining and being entertained, allowing lost souls to go into eternity unprepared to meet God, knowing their eternal destinies. Child of God, this is not a game. Souls are at stake, the soul of the saint and sinner. Whom do you know whom you might be able to teach? The late beloved W. A. Bradfield used to tell students not make the decision for anyone, but teach all, allowing them to decide whether or not they would obey Jesus. He also said of first century Christians, The found found the unfound; the saved saved the unsaved; the disciples discipled the undiscipled; and the taught taught the untaught. He zealously did what he preached and taught, and he encouraged every Christian to do the same. Who is in control of your life, God or Satan? Cf. Romans 6. Beloved, be watchful (Matthew 24:42), sober and vigilant (1 Peter 5:8), and resist Satan. (Verse 9).
May each one know that God is love, and that He has acted to save the lost, but He will hold each person accountable for his/her deeds. Christian, that includes “knowing the terror of the Lord”, and being committed to labor to save the lost.